I broke my extractor.
For two weeks I thought my repetitive jams during IPSC matches was caused by magazines ...t he new ISMI springs I had installed in all of my magazines, the Dawson Plus-Two I had installed on one magazine, or perhaps because of the natural tendency of magazines to open up at the magazine lips due to natural wear of using the same magazines for a year or more.
When I finally wised up, I took a close look at my extractor under a strong magnifying glass. I found a chip on the face of the extractor hook ... not a corner of the hook broken, as has been my experience with EVERY pistol (including S&W) I've ever used for IPSC competition for more than a year. (Figure 12,000 round per year, at a minimum.)
Because I shoot IPSC matches every weekend during 'the season' I wasn't willing to accept any decrease in reliability, so I contacted Chuck Bradley at Shooter's Connection to get a replacement.
(Extractors are a 'consumible' product; if you're going to shoot a couple of hundred rounds through your 1911 pistol every week, most weeks of the year, you have to expect that the extractor is going to fail eventually, even if you're using the now-classic STI.
It's only reasonable to have a spare extractor in your range bag, but when I went looking for mine, I discovered that the cupboard was bare ... extractor-wise.
Chuck had much the same problem: he had no STI extractors in stock, and his order to STI hadn't come in yet. But he had AFTEC extractors on hand, and I've always wanted to see if this product was worth the premium price it demanded, so I ordered one.
I also back-ordered a replacement STI extractor, to be delivered as soon as Chuck's order came in. It never hurts to have extra parts on hand, if you compete in as many matches each year as SWMBO and I do.
I didn't get my order in to Chuck until Monday night. He replied by email later that same night (has Chuck nothing better to do than keep track of his customers?) and I clarified my request that he send his available extractor ... the Aftec ... immediately, and also send a spare STI extractor as soon as they came in.
I received my Aftec extractor on Thursday night.
Information available on the Internet indicated that installation of the Aftec extracor required 'some gunsmithing'. Specifically, they supposedly required that you drill out your extractor channel to fit the larger-diameter Aftec. After this, of course, the stock extractor was no longer an option.
The extractor is an Aftec Extractor. It uses a small, heavy duty coil spring to give constant tension to the case in the chamber. I have broken two of these in this gun so far. The replacement parts are hard to come by as they are no longer produced. To install the Aftec extractor, you have to drill out the extractor hole in the slide to a larger diameter. It is impossible to go back to the regular type extractor after one of these are installed. The weak area is by the hook part of the extractor, where a crack forms and eventually the hook breaks off. I do not recommend this modification because of the two failures I have had with mine.
Either this description is VERY much out of date, or it is patent bullshit. I prefer to believe that this installation process is based on a very EARLY model of the Aftec extractor.
My experience was less traumatic. The Aftec dropped right in. The extractor channel didn't require any modification, and even the perennially Gunsmithing-Incompetent Geek was able to install the After-Market part without opening the dusty Dremel Tool box.
Saturday morning, 9am, I started the match at the Albany Rifle & Pistol Club. To my delight, the Aftec extracted with near-perfect reliability. (The single exception was when I attempted to use a 140mm magazine newly equiped with a 'Dawson Plus-Two' basepad, which caused a jam after 6 shots in the 22-round magazine. My bad: I had used an 'old' 170mm ISMI magazine spring, conforming to my personal theory that a NEW 140mm magazine spring wouldn't work with a plus-two magazine. I'll replace that with a new 140mm ISMI magspring and report back later. Did I mention that I was mechanically stupid?)
John Moses Browning ... My Hero!
While I'm a traditionalist where gun-parts are concerned, I've never been entirely convinced that the original John Browning design of a bend-it-to-tune-it extractor was the best possible solution. Given the one-match experience, I have no negative critical comments about the Aftec extractor so far.
Give me some time. If it's possible to muck it up, I'll do it. But for now ... I like it!